At first glance, the logic seems simple: To lose
weight, you need to eat smaller portions. But is sitting down to a
half-empty dinner plate really the best strategy if it leaves you hungry
and more likely to succumb to the midnight munchies?
it comes to weight control, it turns out bigger portions -- of the
right foods -- may be the answer. Numerous studies, many of them
conducted at Pennsylvania State University by Barbara Rolls, author of The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet, suggest
that people tend to consume and be satisfied by the same volume of food
at a sitting regardless of how many calories it contains. So by bulking
up dishes in ways that add few or no calories, you can have a full,
satisfying plate that's also good for your waistline. Here are some
simple, flavorful strategies for getting more for less.
Blend in purees
One of the best ways to amp up portions but reduce calories is to work in vegetable purees. In a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
participants who had pureed vegetables hidden in their meals ate the
same quantity of food and were equally satisfied but ate up to 350 fewer
calories and two extra servings of vegetables a day than those who
didn't. That calorie difference can add up to 3 pounds of weight lost a
month, not to mention the potential health benefits from the nutrition
in the extra vegetable servings. Try folding pureed winter squash (you
can buy it frozen or canned) into your macaroni and cheese, adding
cooked cauliflower to potatoes before mashing, or putting pureed cooked
carrots or peas in your casseroles.
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Add cut vegetables
don't have to sneak vegetables to amp up volume, nutrition and
satisfaction. You can also add them in a way that gives an obvious burst
of color and texture. Try slicing zucchini into ribbons and adding to
linguine, layering sliced cucumber, radishes and grilled vegetables on
your sandwiches, and adding extra vegetables such as red bell peppers
and mushrooms to stews and chili.
Slice and dice
food to make it appear more plentiful is a winning strategy as well. In
a recent study from Arizona State University, subjects given a bagel
cut into pieces ate less but were equally satisfied, compared with those
served a whole bagel. So cut and roast your potatoes instead of baking
them whole, and serve slices of bread rather than a whole roll. Make the
official 3-ounce "deck of cards" sized portion of meat look more
sumptuous and satisfying by slicing it thinly and fanning it out on the
course, air has no calories and you can use it to your advantage to
inflate portions. One study showed people consumed about 70 fewer
calories when given a more aerated cheese-puff snack. So choose popcorn
and puffed grain cereals over more dense chips, crackers and granola.
And consider the sweet bargain of 5 cups of cotton candy for the same
calories as a mere 11 jelly beans. Also, you can get the same sized
spread of cream cheese and butter for your toast for considerably fewer
calories simply by switching to the whipped kind.